Being a parent is hard…

  QUESTION:My 16 year old son has always loved football. Last year, as a sophomore he received a varsity letter.  Last season he loved it, couldn’t wait to take the field and of course, the Friday night lights. Couldn’t wait for the next season because surely he would be full Varsity.  Last season he never complained, just pure excitement.
This June he announces that he is not going to play football this season. None of his friends are playing. He goes on to say he hates football, hates the coaches.  I certainly would understand the decision if he had given any indication of such problems during the season, but never a one. I truly feel this attitude is being dictated to him by his friends, who will not be signing up.  Many of these friends did not get the playing time or the “letter” as my son did.  My son is a very good athlete and I hate to think that he is giving football up just because his friends hate it.  I feel he is making this decision so as not to lose these friends. How do we make sure our son is making a decision he will not regret later?
  ANSWER:I understand you want your son to have no regrets in his life, but that will be virtually impossible. In this instance, I think it would be helpful to sit down with him and have a clear conversation with him about what friends aren’t what life is about. If he still chooses to not do it then you let him. He needs to be able to choose to do things even if you think it may cause regret later in life. As long as he is not choosing to do something illegal or immoral I think this is something that he gets to choose. There do need to be consequences. All the time he would have put into football would potentially be time to work around the home, spend time with family, do homework etc…

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